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Juilliard Dance's Season to Open with NEW DANCES: EDITION 2017

Juilliard Dance's Season to Open with NEW DANCES: EDITION 2017

Juilliard Dance, under the leadership of acting artistic director Taryn Kaschock Russell, opens its season in December with New Dances: Edition 2017 featuring four world-premiere dances created for Juilliard students by choreographers Bryan Arias (first-year class), Gentian Doda (second-year class), Roy Assaf (third-year class), and Gustavo Ramírez Sansano (fourth-year class). The works are Bryan Arias' The Sky Seen From the Moon; Gentian Doda's This Silence; Roy Assaf's 25 People; and Gustavo Ramirez Sansano's A Thousand Thoughts.

New Dances: Edition 2017 performances take place Wednesday, December 6 through Saturday, December 9, 2017, at 7:30pm and Sunday, December 10, 2017, at 3pm in Juilliard's Peter Jay Sharp Theater. Tickets are $30 ($15 for full-time non-Juilliard students) and available for purchase at Tickets are free for Juilliard students.

Following the final performance of New Dances, a private event will honor Lawrence Rhodes, who stepped down as artistic director of Juilliard's Dance Division last season. Mr. Rhodes, artistic director emeritus, conceived of New Dances in 2003. Its premise is simple: Every year a choreographer is commissioned by Juilliard to create a work for each of the four classes. The only requirement is that the choreographers use the entire class. The works commissioned by New Dances belong to the choreographers, many of whom have adapted their works for other dance companies after the Juilliard performances.


Bryan Arias (First-Year Class)

Born in Ponce, P.R., Bryan Arias moved with his family to New York City at the age of 9. While growing up he was exposed to many urban and social dance styles, and received his formal dance training at La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts. He performed with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, and Crystal Pite's company, Kidd Pivot. Mr. Arias has won numerous awards for his choreography, including first place and audience choice awards for Without Notice at the Sixth Copenhagen International Choreography Competition. He was the winner of the Hubbard Street Dance International Commission Project, nominated for a Rolex mentor and protégé award, and a 2017 winner of the Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Award. He has choreographed for Hubbard Street 2, Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Ballet Vorpommern (Germany), the Scottish Ballet, and Tanz Lucerne Theater. Upcoming commissions include new works for Ballet Basel, the Paul Taylor Company, and Charlotte Ballet. (

Roy Assaf (Third-Year Class)

Roy Assaf was born in 1982 in Sde Moshe in the south of Israel. He has been dancing and creating as long as he can remember, but began formal training at the age of 16, when he joined a dance group led by Regba Gilboa at the community center in Kiryat Gat. Two years later, Mr. Assaf was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces. In 2003 he met choreographer Emanuel Gat and toured worldwide with Gat as both performer and choreographic assistant from 2004 to 2009. Since 2010 he has been developing his own works independently and has received commissions from companies including Benjamin Millepied's LA Dance Project, the Royal Swedish Ballet, and the Batsheva Dance Company. His work has been performed at noted festivals and venues including the Théâtre National de Chaillot, Jacob's Pillow, American Dance Festival, Bolzano Danza, Pavillon Noir, and La Biennale De Lyon. The residency of Roy Assaf is supported by the Israel Institute, which is dedicated to enhancing knowledge and study of modern Israel. (

Gentian Doda (Second-Year Class)

Born in Tirana, Albania, Gentian Doda began his dancing career with the Albanian National Theater of Opera and Ballet, followed by positions at the Azerbaijan State Theater of Opera and Ballet, Teatro di Arena di Verona, Balletto di Parma, Compañía de Victor Ullate, and Compañia Nacional de Danza (CND) directed by Nacho Duato. Mr. Doda began choreographing while at CND and was later commissioned to create for CND 2 in 2006, 2007, and 2008, and for the main company in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 he received first prizes in choreography contests in Copenhagen and Hanover and received the Scapino Production Prize. Since that time he has created works for the New York Choreographic Institute, Scapino Ballet, Ballet Nacional Domincano, and Staatsballet Nürnberg. In 2014 he became ballet master of the Staatsballet Berlin and is currently working on new productions commissioned by Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich, Fondazione Teatro Massimo Palermo, and Staatsballet Berlin. He premiered Die Letzte Reise last December and is working on a new piece scheduled to premiere in Madrid next May.

Gustavo Ramírez Sansano (Fourth-Year Class)

Gustavo Ramírez Sansano is the former artistic director of Luna Negra Dance Theater (2009-13) and is currently choreographer and director of Titoyaya Dansa, the company he founded in 2006 in Spain with Veronica Garcia Moscardo. Mr. Sansano has been the recipient of numerous awards for his choreography, including first prize at the Ricard Moragas Competition in Barcelona (1997), Prix Dom Pérignon Choreographic Competition in Hamburg (2001), and Premio de Las Artes Escénicas de la Comunidad Valenciana (2005). He has created works for companies including the Nederlands Dans Theater, Compania Nacional de Danza, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ballet BC, and Ballet Hispánico. He has also worked on opera productions for Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Omaha, and Bard SummerScape. Mr. Sansano danced with the Ballet de la Comunidad de Madrid/Victor Ullate, Nederlands Dans Theater II, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. He was chosen by Por la Danza magazine as one of the 15 choreographers to watch in 2004, one of 25 to watch by Dance Magazine in 2011, and Chicagoan of the year in arts and entertainment by the Chicago Tribune in 2012. His new work Victoria, created for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, had its premiere in New York earlier this month at City Center. (


Taryn Kaschock Russell is acting artistic director of JuilliardDance. She has been a member of Juilliard's faculty since 2014 and served as associate director of Juilliard's Dance Division in the 2016-17 academic year. She has also been on the faculty of the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase.

Ms. Russell directed Hubbard Street 2 between 2008 and the spring of 2013. Prior to that, she held the position of rehearsal director of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC). In her 12-year performing career with both HSDC and the Joffrey Ballet, she traveled extensively, performing works by George Balanchine, John Cranko, Agnes De Mille, Martha Graham, Lar Lubovitch, Ji?í Kylián, Nacho Duato, Ohad Naharin, and William Forsythe. During her tenure as director of HS2, she was responsible for programming and staffing the HSDC summer intensives and curating HSDC's National Choreographic Competition each season. In this capacity, Ms. Russell realized her passion for teaching and mentoring young and emerging artists.

Ms. Russell has guest taught at the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Trey McIntyre Project, Ballet Hispanico, Ballet BC, and is a regular company teacher for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She has been commissioned to choreograph work for HSDC, as part of its Danc(e)volve Series at the Museum of Contemporary Art and has staged existing repertoire on the Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

Ms. Russell has composed a number of site-specific installations, most notably in collaborative partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.


The Juilliard Dance Division, now in its 66th season, is a groundbreaking conservatory dance program whose faculty and alumni have changed the face of dance around the world. The program was established in 1951 by William Schuman during his tenure as president of Juilliardwith the guidance of founding director Martha Hill. It became the first major teaching institution to combine equal dance instruction in both contemporary and ballet techniques. Among the early dance faculty members at Juilliard were Alfred Corvino, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, José Limón, Anna Sokolow, Antony Tudor, and Héctor Zaraspe.

Alumni of Juilliard's Dance Division include Robert Battle, Pina Bausch, Martha Clarke, Mercedes Ellington, Robert Garland, Charlotte Griffin, Kazuko Hirabayashi, Adam Hougland, Saeko Ichinohe, Loni Landon, Jessica Lang, Lar Lubovitch, Bruce Marks, Susan Marshall, Austin Mccormick, Andrea Miller, Ohad Naharin, and Paul Taylor.

Pictured: New Dances: Edition 2016. Pam Tanowitz's thunder rolling along afterward (photo by Rosalie O'Connor)

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